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Sports Betting in Canada: An Overview of its Gambling Laws


In Canada, gambling dates as far back as the natives, with proof of sticks for games and betting. Playing cards were introduced after the voyage of John Cabot to the shores of Canada in 1497, which introduced early versions of games like faro that developed into blackjack and poker. Dice and betting games such as barbotte became favorites through the evolution of gaming.

A brief history

While always allowed, gambling came under government scrutiny during the late 1800s, only to be regulated and, in some cases, limited. However, the Canadians demanded their freedom to play games. In the 1970s, the government took a bold step and let individual provinces decide these gambling laws on their own. This enabled many Canadians to build land-based casinos.

Who regulates the gaming industry in Canada?

The industry is regulated by the Canadian Gaming Commission, which provides information and responds to any serious issue that may arise. The organization communicates with the media, government, and public to ensure the industry is kept in perspective and is understood properly. Laws relating to sports betting, gambling websites, casinos, as well as other similar activities are enforced and enacted by individual provinces.

What laws apply to modern-day gambling in Canada?

The Criminal Code was changed in 1970 to provide oversight of gambling to the provinces. Subsequently, the first casino in the country was built in 1989 in Winnipeg, and many others followed in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. Even before that, a woman playing online poker with friendsracetracks were created and continued to grow over the next few decades to become one of Canada’s most sought-after forms of betting.

Besides horse tracks and live casinos, most provinces didn’t disapprove of the installation of video lottery terminals, which produced revenue for the government. Lotteries have been instituted across Canada, and most popular betting sites are seen as a tool for generating revenue, especially for the governments, religious groups, and charities.

Since Canada regards gambling as a victimless crime, it doesn’t think illegal gambling is a threat to the people of Canada. In most cases, gambling is accepted and left to people for entertainment purposes. Currently, provincial laws are enacted to control the revenue, allowing government-sponsored online gambling sites to support the gambling industry.

What were the first gambling laws in Canada?

The Canadian Criminal Code was enacted in 1892, which was tolerated under specific conditions but allowed. In 1910, this part of the Criminal Code was amended to enable pari-mutuel betting for horse racing, and other games (based on chance) were allowed for religious and charitable purposes. However, those laws weren’t stringent. However, as the 1900s went by, more Canadian citizens started accepting gambling.

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